This time of year always excites me.
Client projects have finally wrapped up, my annual to-do list is coming to an end and a fresh new year is on the horizon.
I do my best to block off a few days during this week to reflect on the last 12 months and prepare for the year to come, both personally and for my business.
I love getting things in order, setting goals and having some direction as I approach January 1st.
I have a feeling many of you do, too.
So today I’m sharing my favorite planning and goal setting resources. My list isn’t super in-depth or groundbreaking, but I hope you find at least one of these resources helpful as you get your business in order for 2017.
Rifle Paper Co. 17-Month Scarlett Birch Planner
We live in an increasingly digital age where everything can be accessed from a smartphone.
And while I understand the benefits of keeping an online calendar through iCal or Google Calendar (like portability, convenience and reminders), there’s something about writing down tasks and meetings that helps me remember them.
I love having everything on paper. I also like being able to check tasks off and keep up with my progress.
But I’ll admit - I can be a little picky when it comes to planners.
I prefer both weekly and monthly views. I don’t like printed time slots because they take up too much space and only include regular work hours. And it needs to be well-designed, of course.
There are several great planners out there like The Day Designer and The Simplified Planner, but Rifle Paper Company’s 17-Month Scarlett Birch Planner is my very favorite.
Not only is the cover art gorgeous (I love Anna Rifle Bond’s feminine and colorful aesthetic), but the layout of the pages is simple, leaving plenty of space for reminders and to-do’s.
I use the weekly view the most often, writing meetings down in the left-hand column and daily tasks in the right.
I don’t include each and every Elle & Company task in my planner; Asana handles the majority of my project management and internal business tasks. But I love using my Rifle Paper planner for meetings, daily tasks and reminders.
I’m always gungho about reaching my goals at the beginning of the year. I have a ton of motivation, I stay on track for a couple weeks… but life quickly gets busy and I tend to lose sight of those big goals a month or two down the road.
The SELF Journal was designed to help you make daily progress toward your goals.
Instead of setting goals for the entire year, the SELF Journal helps you set and accomplish quarterly goals. After setting those 3-month goals, you break them into manageable chunks and create a daily action plan for reaching them.
The hope is that you’ll form habits and see success quicker, because annual goals leave too much time for procrastination.
I have to admit - I haven’t tested the SELF Journal yet. But Jake and I are both looking forward to using it this upcoming year. I’ll keep you posted...
What’s Best Next? by Matt Perman
I’m a sucker for productivity tips and tools. I get a weird satisfaction from checking off the most boxes on my to-do list as possible before the day is up.
But over these past few years of business, I’ve begun to see that completed tasks don’t benefit my business if I’m not focusing on the right tasks in the first place.
Efficiency doesn’t equal effectiveness.
What’s Best Next is very different from every other productivity book and blog post I’ve read in the past because it focuses less on tips and tricks and more on character.
I haven’t finished it yet, but I haven’t been able to put it down this week. (I’m not going to lie… It was a struggle to set it aside long enough write this post.)
It’s written from a Christian perspective, but anyone in business (and in life, for that matter) can benefit from this book. I highly recommend it!
Cultivate What Matters 2017 PowerSheets
Do you know someone who seems to have been given more than 24 hours in a day? Someone who has a lot on their plate but somehow seems to get it all done with time to spare?
Me too, and her name is Lara Casey.
Between running Southern Weddings Magazine and Cultivate What Matters, raising 3 little ones, writing books and hosting webinars, she still finds time to write thoughtful notes and serve others in this industry. She’s one of the most thoughtful, selfless people I know.
Last year she sent me her signature PowerSheets, and they have been so helpful for writing out intentional goals and mapping out a plan for reaching them.
There are sections for reflecting on the past year, mapping out ideas for the year ahead and listing monthly, weekly and daily goals.
The contents of the PowerSheets are both helpful and well-organized, and I love the design.
If you haven’t already, give yourself (and your business) a gift and use these PowerSheets for the new year!
Elle & Company Library
The Elle & Company Library is full of helpful resources for planning and goal setting.
I designed the Library (and everything in it) after struggling to find simple, well-designed printables and templates for my business.
From editorial calendars and finance workbooks…
…to daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists…
...to a full 2017 printable planner…
...and everything in between, the mission of the Library is to be a one-stop shop for creative business owners.
Many of the files in the Library are printable PDFs (like the planning and goal setting resources above), but there are also a ton of Adobe Illustrator templates for blog post images, social media and newsletter graphics, content upgrades, icons and more.
Library subscribers have unlimited access to the files and templates included, and lots of fun new additions will be going up weekly in 2017, so subscribe and stay tuned!
I’ve already written an entire blog post on Asana, but I couldn’t omit it from this roundup of planning resources.
Asana acts as a home base for every Elle & Company task.
Every project is managed in Asana, from client design work to individual Ellechats and everything in between. I use it to plan out my editorial calendar, keep up with client timelines and manage course prep.
My business truly couldn’t function without it.
So if you’re looking for a free, functional resource for organizing and keeping up with business tasks, Asana is a fantastic option. I highly recommend it!
Planning and goal setting is personal, and different systems work well for different people. But I hope that I put at least one new resource in your path as you plan for 2017.
Best wishes and Happy New Year!
What are your favorite planning and goal setting resources? What productivity tools do you plan on implementing in 2017? What type of new items would you like to see in the Library in 2017?